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TRANSCENDENTAL GEOMETRY

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12.11.2014 - 17.01.2015

Nikos Alexiou, "Iviron, Big Lace", 2003, paper, string, cane, 240 Χ 240 cm (each) - installation view at AD Gallery – photo: Nikos Markou

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Plato in Timaeus, which follows the Republic, declares that all sensible things belong to the world of creation, hence they are creations. For the philosopher the cause of the sensible world is the creator, who, like any craftsman, works in accordance with a model. The creator, being good, chose the model, which, because it encompasses all kinds of fairness and perfection, is qualitatively superior and therefore eternal and unchanging. Hence, the sensible world was created as an image of the eternal and excellent model. Its very creation obeys the principle of Analogy. Thus, Timaeus is an attempt of interpreting nature based on mathematics and geometry. In Plato, however, Arithmetics seems to serve Geometry as an aid to calculation and as an expression of sizes with numbers. Similar was the use of Arithmetics by the Pythagorean philosophers. Geometry’s position in the history of civilization, even throughout the development of sciences, does not seem to be supplanted by the more recent viewings. For Kant Geometry is a synthetic knowledge a priori. Many scholars of his work (with the exception of Heidegger) accept a two-way relation between the positions of the philosopher for the Transcendental Aesthetic and those related to mathematical knowledge.

Danil (Panagopoulos, 1924-2008) has claimed with all of his work a modernity which selectively renegotiated forms related to the Greek popular tradition. He participated actively and critically to the modernist movements of the 60’s. During the 70’s, Danil will be drawn away from New Realism and P. Restany, being interested in the Support-Surface movement. For the artists embracing this movement, “painting is by itself a fact and the problems of the painting process should become evident by a clear stripping of all elements used for the construction of the work”. The painter will seek the attribution of Spiritual in painting through the study of the typology of the Byzantine icon and of Euclidean geometry.

Cris Gianakos was born in New York in 1934. He is known for his “ramps”, the large geometric sculptural constructions which he places in the natural or urban environment and indoors. In his work one finds mainly influences from the Russian constructivism, minimalism and geometric abstraction, while it also includes many references to Ancient Greece and other ancient civilizations. Gianakos’ “ramps” refer to the concept of the passage or the afterlife and of the ascension to heaven (Saint John of the Ladder).

In his “iron-plate” paintings Thanassis Totsikas (1951) deals with the basic vocabulary of abstract art. The protagonists of his compositions are sometimes monochromy and sometimes the basic geometric shapes of the square, the circle and the triangle. Christopher Marinos writes, “ Beyond a psychological game with the viewer’s gaze and the emotional transitions that arise from the color combinations, Totsikas’ works remind us the importance of establishing a personal value system and of a particular attitude towards art and its history. What could be hiding behind these images? Is it a new interpretation of nature? Is it a morphological review of older works of the artist? Totsikas lays down a series of optical illusions, while pointing out the relativity of the meaning and the eternal return which characterizes the creative act”.

In his minimalist work of the 1980’s Yiannis Samothrakis (1959-2000) constructs abstract geometric spaces similar to those of the German artist Günther Förg. His color fields sometimes form sensitive parallel strings-strips and sometimes the shape of a cross. Samothrakis sought to explore the legacy of modernist aesthetics in a postmodern era. What he created was not simply an object but a profound comment on the aesthetics of the Absolute and the Sublime.

Nikos Alexiou (1960-2011) creates installations using lace-shaped geometrical constructions out of cane, wax or paper in various dimensions, shaping volatile and poetic spaces, often with symbolic allusions. His art includes references to tradition or historical past, with an impressive variety of mediums, ranging from delicate, handmade constructions to advanced technology. Since 2003, he intensely studied themes and motifs from the Holy Monastery of Iviron and he worked serially on its architecture and the mosaic floor of the katholikon, the navel of the monastery. He managed to express the element of mysticism and the wealth of religious architecture through complex mediums, but also in a spirit of contemplation and reflection.

Vasso Gavaisse (1973) creates geometric works from paper. The perfect shapes repeated in various sizes, seem to be developments of the Perfect Solids. She pastes on paper a metallic, colored film that reflects light and the surrounding space and which enhances the impression of movement. Her images, however, are not two-dimensional since she bents her material creating the third dimension. One could perceive them as sculptural reliefs. As in sculpture, the reception of Gavaisse’s work depends on the distance, the light and the viewing angle. The blank areas of her work are juxtaposed with the full and reveal structures by developing a mysticistic system, which draws its themes from the geometric analysis of the natural world and the apocryphal shapes of Platonic Ideas.

These both plastic and philosophical concerns of the six artists merge in the provocative attempt of depicting the fragile relation between mind, body and spirit. 


Exhibition duration: November 12, 2014 – January 17, 2015
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